Monday, November 1, 2010

NaNoWriMo: Taking the novel-writing plunge

It's Nov. 1, which for some people merely means it's the first day of that special month that gives us permission to stuff our faces with roasted white turkey meat and heavily Cool Whipped slices of pumpkin pie.

But for the aspiring scribes among us, this date signifies the beginning of NaNoWriMo, otherwise known as National Novel Writing Month, a fall tradition that challenges wannabe fiction writers to bang out a book in 30 days.

The goal: Get 50,000 words (about 175 pages) into a Microsoft Word document -- or your copy-composing medium of choice -- by midnight Nov. 30. Magical, mind-altering prose is not the objective. The discipline of getting it done and getting something down every single day is what you're shooting for.

As someone who attempted this three years ago, I can tell you it isn't easy. I fell far, far short of my goals and ultimately gave up well before the Thanksgiving Day tryptophan kicked in. But it was still an enriching experience and one that allowed me to crank out a few chapters of a story that I was genuinely enjoying telling before, you know, I got lazy. And if I can get my backside in gear, I might even give it another shot this year.

So for those about to rock NaNoWriMo, we salute you. And, if you're so inclined, we invite you to send us very tiny snatches of your work as the pages proliferate. E-mail me throughout the month with the strongest sentence or two from your great American (or non-American) novel, and I'll attempt to post some of the better efforts right here in Celebritology, where we usually write about famous people but also relish the opportunity to write about regular people who just might have the talent to capture the spotlight themselves someday.

Because novel writers -- they're totally in it for the fame.

[Jen Chaney / The Washington Post]

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